Safety comes before speed in the search for Covid-19 vaccine, say experts | Newsflash by R.AGE|

  • Nation
  • Monday, 06 Apr 2020

It usually takes about ten years to develop a vaccine, says Datuk Dr Amar Singh, a senior consultant pediatrician and former Head, Clinical Research Perak.

“In this outbreak we don’t have the time for that but it could still take 18-24 months to see a vaccine for Covid-19, ” he said.

As companies and academic institutions in several countries race to develop a vaccine for COVID-19, the public is reminded that the finish line is at least a year away.

“We have to accept that it will take time for a safe and effective vaccine to be developed, ” agrees Datuk Professor Dr. Awang Bulgiba Bin Awang Mahmud, Professor of Epidemiology and Public Health Medicine Specialist.

“We don't fast track anything of this nature, ” he said, adding that rushing the process might do more harm than good.

The good news is that there are candidate vaccines that are currently undergoing clinical trials, which will test their safety and effectiveness across growing numbers of people.

Once a vaccine has passed clinical trials and been approved for public use, it still needs to be mass-produced to meet global demand.

“Drug companies which have the capability to produce vaccines can apply for a license to mass-produce this vaccine, ” said Professor Dr. Awang, provided they meet the stringent criteria which are laid down for the production of vaccines.

In the meantime, he strongly urges the public to follow ‘non-pharmaceutical interventions’ like social distancing.

Watch: Why don't we have a vaccine for Covid-19? | Newsflash

Newsflash is a weekly explainer series by R.AGE that breaks down and discusses current topics. Watch more episodes here.

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